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Monday, November 07, 2011

Integrating New Technology in the Classroom: Top 10 Reasons #EdTech

Teachers are finding that using different classroom technologies like tablet computers, digital video, iPods, and video games are great tools for helping students learn.

While there are some nay-sayers who bring up some negative effects of technology on education, mainly budgetary reasons, using new technologies is the future of the education system.

The following reasons should silence the nay-sayer and help them heed the wisdom from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach,
"Teachers will not be replaced by technology, but teachers who don’t use technology will be replaced by those who do.".
Top 10 Reasons to Use Technology in the Classroom
1. Students love it.  Students love using new technologies in the classroom.  Whether it be the "cool" factor or just a genuine interest in new technology, it allows teachers to vary activities of the day and engage students.  There is no commandment for education that says,
Students spend hours using technology like computers and television when they get home from school--why not engage them through their favorite mediums?

2.  It engages the Four Key Components to Learning.   Click on the link to read how technology in education (specifically the iPod School Listening Center) engages the 4 key components to learning.

3. Professional Development.  Using new technologies allow students to learn another skill set that will help them in the marketplace.  How many jobs need basic computing skills let alone advanced computing skills?  Any time a teacher can encourage students to learn through technology, they kill two birds with one stone.

The tech industry is only getting bigger--encourage your students to know and understand technology so they can be the tech leaders of the future!

With the power of the internet, knowing how to use a simple piece of technology can turn an aspiring singer into Justin Bieber (whose mom uploaded videos of him singing which led to his fame) and a hilarious prankster into YouTube Star EdBassmaster, who recently used an AmpliVox Sound Cruiser PA System in a video (that is approaching 1,000,000 views!).  EdBassMaster "Look at This" Video with Sound Cruiser

4. Makes Life Easier for Teachers. Teachers have to juggle a variety of tasks outside of teaching including planning lessons, grading, meeting with parents, and some administrative work.  Why not help yourself out and put objective tests online so that students can instantly see their grades instead of spending valuable time grading?

5. It Improves Test Scores.  A benefit of engaging students through technology and media is allowing them to work at their own pace and not be held back by students who learn at a slower rate.  This can allow gifted students to progress several grades ahead of their peers over the course of a year.  Another proof of improved test scores comes from reaching different learning styles through the use of technology.  The use of electronic drilling in education can help students learn quickly and provide incentives like games for them to keep progressing.  Nobody does this better than Khan Academy.

6. Helps Students with Low Attention Spans.  Students with ADD or ADHD can be aided through the use of technology by mixing up the learning process with different methods and through providing them engaging activities to keep their interest.  Technology is a favorite among teachers who teach in ESL classrooms or special education settings.

Even the best teachers can have their moments or topics when they are like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off or Charlie Brown's Teacher in the eyes of their students.  Using technology keeps students awake and their attention level high.  How hard is it for you to fall asleep while on the internet compared to hearing a lecture?

7. Learn from the Experts.  With the an increasing amount of free resources available on the internet, you can engage your students with content from the smartest and best teachers in the world.  Instead of recreating the wheel each day in economics class, why don't you occasionally show a video by Nobel Prize winning Economist Milton Friedman?

8. Encourages Homework.  Wait a minute...there is something that can actually encourage students to do homework???  Yes.  Some are finding that a "Flipped Classroom" where homework is done at school and lectures are viewed online at home is the best model because it allows teachers to give real-time homework help and 'lecture' off the clock.  This can help students overcome barriers quickly by remove frustration and negative feelings or emotions that develop in the learning process.

Students who want to go home and unwind after school are not usually eager to put their head in a book but would rather spend time on the internet playing games or Facebooking.  Why not engage students through the internet and games?  Seeing an interesting tweet or Facebook post could encourage them to continue learning even when their homework is done.

9. Saves Money.  Although using new technology normally has an initial investment, it will save schools by multiplying the number of teachers in a classroom.  Instead of having one teacher teaching twenty students, adding technology like a school listening center or a tablet computer will increase the number of functional-teachers in your classroom and free up the real teacher to answer questions and help students.

With the ability to use free content online, teachers will not need to spend as much on curriculum or resources.

10. Remove Obstacles.  Do you have students who have trouble hearing?  Using a classroom amplifier system can allow teachers to amplify their voices and speak at a comfortable level so students are able to hear teachers without strain.  100% of teachers in a recent study said that it was easier to get the attention of the whole class and 100% of teachers said they spent less time managing behavior and more time focusing on curriculum when using speaker systems in the class.  Read more about Amplified Classrooms.

By Kevin Halloran

AmpliVox Sound Systems manufactures and sells portable sound systems along with lecterns and podiums with built-in sound systems that are perfect for classrooms.  The Pinnacle Multimedia Lectern and iPod Portable PA System are great products for school settings that have a variety of uses both indoor and outdoors.

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